Skip to Content

Top 5 Challenge Rookies of 2021

More and more, we hear Challenge contestants denoting their fellow competitors as “Rookie of the Year.” But there is often more than one rookie to be impressed by as we get through December. Let’s take a look at the best Challenge rookies of 2021!

Keep in mind that this list is not based solely on placement or even just their stats. Of course, those will be taken into consideration but, for a viewer, Rookie of the Year is about a lot more than numbers. These are the Challenge rookies of 2021 who captured our hearts. They made us cheer at our screens and by the end of the season, they had us saying “I hope they come back next season!”

As a note, I would like to say that rookies from Spies, Lies, and Allies AND Double Agents will be considered. Despite Double Agents premiering in December of 2020, only three episodes had aired by New Years. Because of this, it is only fair to include those contestants in this article as well.

Without further ado, these are the Top 5 Challenge Rookies of 2021!

5. Ed Eason

Courtesy of @ChallengeMTV on Instagram

Coming from The Circle, many people did not know what to expect of Ed. His original show does not have competitions in the same way that The Challenge, Survivor, or Big Brother do. In fact, when on The Circle, contestants are holed up in their own little apartment. They talk to their fellow contestants via electronic communication. It has some strategy mixed in but it is a social game through and through.

On The Challenge, Ed was ready to showcase his social abilities and his muscles. Unfortunately, he was thrown into elimination on the same episode that he showed up in the house. Proving that he is more than just a social player, though, Ed pulled off a win with Emy. He then followed that elimination win up with a daily challenge win.

After that, Ed was able to cruise through half the season on his charm alone. Eventually he asked to be thrown into elimination because he did not want his friends to be thrown in and lost in pole wrestle against Kyle.

During his run on Spies, Lies, and Allies, Ed brought an enormous amount of positive energy that was loved by people in the house and people watching. He truly seemed happy to be there and he proved time and time again that he is a good guy. His energy was infectious and we hope to see this 2021 Challenge rookie on future seasons!

4. Emanuel Neagu

Courtesy of @ChallengeMTV on Instagram

One of the two contestants hailing from Romania on this list, Emanuel was quite a surprise on Spies, Lies, and Allies.

He came into the season with a kinetic energy and immediately began making friends in the house. He started hooking up with fellow rookie, Michele, early on. Once she was eliminated, he began hooking up with Challenge vet, Tori. The two were together throughout most of the season. Between this relationship, his general lovable personality, and his solid competition performances, Emanuel stayed out of elimination throughout 95% of the season.

It was not until the episode right before the finals that Emanuel’s luck came to an end. After winning six daily missions, Emanuel was called out by Logan in elimination, as he was the only rookie to have avoided elimination to that point. After an exhausting endurance challenge, Emanuel sent Logan home.

Through sheer luck of the draw, TJ announced a twist that ended with Emanuel back in the elimination arena for a second time that night. This time against Devin. Unfortunately for him, the challenge was a puzzle. He put up a good fight but came up short and was eliminated right before the final. We would have liked to have seen what he is made of during the final challenge but Emanuel more than proved that he has what it takes to compete on The Challenge and earned himself the title of one of the best rookies of 2021!

3. Logan Sampedro

Courtesy of @ChallengeMTV on Instagram

Hailing from Spain, Logan has more charm than anyone on this list. With his smooth talking, Logan was able to charm many of the vets and stayed in the game almost to the very end. Especially impressive considering how hard the vets were gunning for the rookies all season.

Throughout the season, Logan proved his abilities socially, mentally, and physically. He was able to win four daily challenges with three different team make-ups. Winning with Aneesa, winning with Tori, then winning on the Sapphire Cell shows his range. Logan is not just a good competitor but a solid teammate who can work with just about anyone.

Throughout the season, Logan defeated two competitors in The Lair, including Challenge vet Cory, who called him out, thinking he would be able to defeat him. Logan faced off against him and showed Cory and all the other vets why he should not be doubted. Eventually, Logan was eliminated in the second to last elimination before the final. I have a feeling that had he been in the final, Logan would have had a solid chance to win.

He had an impressive rookie season in 2021 and we hope to see more of Logan on future seasons of The Challenge!

2. Emy Alupei

Courtesy of @ChallengeMTV on Instagram

Emy is a very divisive personality. She is loud, energetic, and some would say obnoxious. But one thing that no one can disagree with is that she has heart.

Throughout Spies, Lies, and Allies, Emy proved that she is a fighter. No matter what happens, she will move forward. She came on the season as one of only two contestants from Romania. She quickly began to bond with CT, who took her under his wing.

Emy had to prove herself early on, being thrown into elimination during the second episode of the season. However, she came back and continued to claw her way to the end of the season. She was thrown into elimination three more times. With four elimination wins in her first season, she was just one away from tying the record for most in a single season.

She then capped off the entire season by making it to the final. With the Orange Cell, Emy was in the lead at the end of the first day. Due to a twist, when partners were formed for the second day, Emy ended up with Devin, who was struggling the most at the end of day one.

Unsurprisingly, the duo ended up in last place when all was said and done. Had Emy been a little bit luckier with how the partner situation went down, she very well could have been walking away with $400,000 at the end of her rookie season.

1. Amber Borzotra

Courtesy of @ChallengeMTV on Instagram

This feels like a bit of a boring pick at #1 but it’s hard to argue against Amber as the Rookie of the Year.

Through two seasons, she has a 3-1 elimination record, she got plenty of screentime through drama, and she won her very first Challenge. After winning the season prior, Amber had many of her competitors nervous on Spies, Lies, and Allies.

Replacing one of the rookies, Amber was definitely an upgrade in terms of competition. She came in ready to play the game. Despite being a Challenge vet and winner, however, she was not accepted so easily by the Vet alliance. She was thrown in to elimination by Fessy/Esther just a few episodes after showing up to the game. She proved why she deserves to be there, though, by beating Corey L/Michele.

What should really get highlighted though, is her dominating Final run with CT in Double Agents. Throughout the season, Amber proved to be a solid but unspectacular competitor. During the final, however, she proved that she had a lot up her sleeve.

Not only was she the perfect partner for the Challenge legend, but she was often ahead of him in the running portion. In the end, she became the first female rookie to win on their first season since Sam and Ashley on Battle of the Seasons, almost ten years before. Amber was definitely one of the best Challenge rookies of 2021!

What Do You Think?

Who did we miss? Both Double Agents and Spies, Lies, and Allies had a good amount of rookies to choose from. Who did you expect to see on the list? Anybody that you think could have ended up here if things had worked out slightly different? Would you have ever guessed that the OLYMPIAN would not make a list of the Best Challenge Rookies of 2021? Let us know in the comments below!

Make Sure to Check Out More of Our Reality TV Articles!

Top 5 Underrated Challenge Women

Top 10 Survivor Contestants We Want on The Challenge

Best Survivor Seasons for New Fans to Watch

Top 5 Possible Opposite-Sex Challenge Rivals Teams

Top 5 Satisfying Challenge Endings

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Thursday 16th of December 2021

First of all, amber b is NOT a rookie. Emy made it to the finale so why isnā€™t she in first place. She survived like 4 eliminations, amber b got canceled 3/4 of the way through the seasonšŸ¤£

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.